If you think about it, you would expect that Jesus would be intimidating to be around – I mean, he was perfect! But we see the opposite in Scripture. Sinners found themselves drawn to him, wanting to be around him, even if his message made them uncomfortable. This quality about Jesus baffled the Pharisees and Scribes… They just didn’t get why people loved him, and why he would welcome those undesirable people into his company.
I would like to suggest that this desirable quality about Jesus, that drew people to him, was grace. I think he lived grace, he breathed grace, he spoke grace, he manifested grace tangibly to those around him.
So since Jesus was the living embodiment of grace, if we want to be like him, we need to work to understand grace more.
1. Jesus manifested a desire for the lost.
Unlike the religious leaders of his day, Jesus sought out the least desirable people in his culture. Tax collectors were considered to be the scum of society — those who stole, manipulated, and took advantage of even their own relatives. But Jesus loved them, sought them out, and won them over with his grace. Jesus never wrote anyone off as a lost cause – he desires ALL to come to grace.
2. Jesus was diligent in his focus on seeking the lost.
This week, I lost my keys, and they weren’t just misplaced – they were LOST. That could have been a major inconvenience for a lot of people, and so I got diligent about really searching for them. I tore my house and office apart, and eventually found them inside the couch cushions. But it was an intensive search to FIND what I had lost. And this same intensity is how Jesus wants us to seek out the lost people around us. We don’t just hope they show up sometime. We go to great lengths to find them and bring them to his grace.
3. Jesus felt great delight in seeing the lost found.
When the lost are found, there is great rejoicing in the heavens, much more than how I felt when I found my keys! God loves seeing sinners turn over their lives to him — from tax collectors to clergy!
Let us make an effort to share in Jesus’ expressions of grace: to desire the lost, to be diligent in our efforts to seek the lost, and to take great delight in seeing them found.